Kristine (Johnson) Fortman


Kristine Johnson Fortman

Year of Graduation: 1991

Major(s): English

Current Position: Chief Executive Officer, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (Graduate School: Ph.D. in health communications from Washington State University)


Give us a brief description of your current position and what your work entails:
As chief executive officer of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the Roseville, Minnesota, native has helped build a local and national brand for one of the state’s most active cardiovascular health care research organizations. “[I feel like I have] an opportunity to have a broad impact on an area that will be an ‘evergreen’ need,” she says. “I am thrilled to be building my career at the intersection of research and philanthropy.”

What path did you take to your current position?
Kristine started her career in the health care industry after accepting a position as a research associate working on physician initiated research at HealthPartners Research Foundation. In 2005, she began working as a clinical research manager for Medtronic, where she was responsible for the management of cardiovascular post market clinical trials. Two years later, Kristine began to move up the corporate ladder. As global grant making and community affairs manager at Medtronic Foundation, she worked to develop global employee engagement and community involvement programs for Medtronic. In 2013, her drive and urgency opened yet another door, and Kristine became director of global engagement at Medtronic Philanthropy where she created and grew programming that would increase access to chronic disease care for the underserved worldwide. “Today I feel like all roads have led me to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation,” she says. “I have the opportunity to lead an interdisciplinary group of experts to partner with best and brightest physicians to harness key research that will help lead us toward a world without heart and vascular disease. It is a great reason to get up every day.”

What are some activities and resources at CSB/SJU that you utilized to prepare yourself for your career?
“The greatest gift my parents gave me was the opportunity to attend CSB,” the English major says. “It was a game changer for me. The professors at CSB encouraged me to be well rounded – I love quantitative and qualitative thinking and approaches. I love the intermingling of art and science.”

(February 2017)